Jesmyn Ward, author of Sing, Unburied, Sing (Scribner), is one of 24 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellows selected for 2017. Each “genius grant” recipient receives “a stipend of $625,000… paid out in equal quarterly installments over five years.”
Although nominees are reviewed for their achievements, the fellowship is not a lifetime achievement award, but rather an investment in a person’s originality, insight, and potential. Indeed, the purpose of the MacArthur Fellows Program is to enable recipients to exercise their own creative instincts for the benefit of human society.
Fellows are chosen by “a constantly changing pool of invited external nominators chosen from as broad a range of fields and areas of interest as possible,” a selection committee, and then final decisions are made by the president and board of directors. “Nominators, evaluators, and selectors all serve anonymously and their correspondence is kept confidential.”
Previous winners of genre interest include writers Octavia E. Butler, Junot Díaz, Virginia Hamilton, Jonathan Lethem, Karen Russell, George Saunders, and author/artist David Macaulay.
For more, see the MacArthur Foundation site.